Ilfracombe AFC v Elmore AFC
By Steven Rice
Blustery day at Marlborough Park.
From the moment we arrived to the moment we left, Marlborough Park was in hurricane alley...
The pitch was in good condition, but it was clear from the moment we set out the warm up it wouldn’t stay that way.
The rain came down, and came down with a vengeance, and before we even kicked off the signs weren’t good for the poor Groundsman after the game.
The game started in what can best be described as a storm, very wet and very windy..... but the home side seemed to be quite familiar with their Cliff top surroundings.
The game started at a decent pace, with the wind playing its part if the ball left the ground too far, and affecting both sides as they tried to settle to the weather that was battering them.
We seemed to settle the better, and early on played some decent football for the conditions, which soon saw the pitch cutting up as the monsoon fell.
Our first breakthrough came on 16 minutes, when Ashton Hewitt
slid a throughball between Ilfracombes centre halves for Jordan Bastin
to race clear and tuck the ball easily past the home keeper to open the scoring making it 1-0 Elmore.
After another brief spell of pressure, a ball across the home sides defence to their keeper, saw him slice the ball badly into the path of Jordan Bastin
who passed the ball neatly into an empty net, 2-0 Elmore.
Moments later, some sloppy defending by us, saw Ilfracombes most dangerous player in their left sided forward, pick up the ball wide and drive forward down the wing, he left Daniel Tapp
for pace on the edge of our box, cut inside, and fired home into the far corner past Barrett, closing the gap to 2-1 somewhat against the run of play, but their pacey forward was always a threat.
On 35 minutes a ball into Combes box saw their keeper fumble the ball, which fell to Alex Gray
, but before he could react the home keeper had bear hugged him to the ground, penalty given, and yes Jordan Bastin
stepped up for his hat trick, and calmly slotted home to make it 3-1 Elmore.
Still very dominant, but with the pitch now cutting up quite badly and the rain finally easing, the game started to become a bit more direct as both sides started to struggle for consistency on the surface.
Just before the half time whistle, Combes centre half and keeper seemed to suffer some confusion, and as the defender dallied Jordan Bastin
stole the ball off his toes, drove at and around the keeper to once again pass the ball into the net, goal number 4 for Jordan, and 4-1 to us.
Half time came, 4-1 up with a good display on a bad surface due to the weather. After a brief chat and some cold minutes spent in the changing rooms, we knew it would be a difficult second half as the home side would not give up.
The second half started much as the first, with both sides trying to get a foothold in the boggy conditions, but as with the end of the first half neither side could really put a string of passes together.
Ilfracome started to come back into the game, as we tried to pass the ball on the surface, but soon found this not to be the way forward with the ball bobbling around so much we just couldn’t string our passes together to retain possession.
On 73 minutes, a quick ball forward by Ilfracombe found their right winger free to cross over our defence that had still not reorganised after the direct pass, this left a free Combes player all on his own at the far post to control and pass home past stranded Barrett in goal, and reducing the deficit to 4-2.
With the game now going end to end, we found Harry Butler
wide, having recently come on, to play some lovely one - two passing with Bastin, who turned wide on the edge of the home box and side stepped two defenders, and yes he was at it again as he fired home giving their keeper no time to react, and making it 5-2 on 80 minutes, and Jordan’s 5th of the game.
It may well have been 6 for Jordan, but a shot from a similar angle minutes earlier brought a good save from the home keeper as he managed to sit on the ball before it shot under his body.
the game petered out in the last 10 minutes, both sides struggling to have any meaningful time on the ball, having to resort to longer balls forward, but without any finished product to trouble the refs scorecard again.
The game ended with us winning 5-2, and a very fine display in the first half on a difficult pitch, before it became too hard to play any football through the majority of the pitch.
Well done to Jordan Bastin
today, on fire for his 5 goals, and would definitely be our Man Of The Match...